Henrik Harlacker opens the door to their house and scratches the itchy stubble on his chin with his right hand. He is a thirty-four-year-old man with a by now at least three- or four-day-old beard stubble. He can’t remember the last time he shaved but it could have been this Tuesday or maybe Wednesday. Henrik wonders if he might just let it grow into a glorious full beard. Joanna, his loving and beautiful wife, would surely love it, he believes.
Henrik and Joanna met a couple of years ago, and the moment he saw her he knew that she was the one for him. Her mesmerizing personality and timeless beauty made his heart beat faster and stronger every time he thought of her. A year later they got married, the happiest day of their lives. The way she seamlessly owned any room she entered, becoming the centre of everyone’s attention, combined with her quick mind and intellect, made her a naturally born leader, a figure of authority. Henrik found this very attractive and was fascinated by her.
After a long week in the office, he is glad that they are finally relaxing on the sofa together, at this moment on this Friday evening. He doesn’t know that their existence will drastically change quite soon. At this moment, Henrik is just an ordinary man with an ordinary life who enjoys the small things. He is not yet aware of the dangers lurking in a very near future light-years away from his sofa.
On their comfortable sofa, they relax and enjoy a glass of red wine; there are some fresh dates and some fine chocolate on the table in front of them. The bottle was recommended by a close friend years ago on one of their vacations in the Middle East and has since then been their favourite, always keeping at least one bottle in their cellar. The living room is filled with green plants of various sizes, some smaller and some rather larger ones that have been allowed to spread out and claim their place in the room.
Along the wall hang pictures with varying motivational texts beside different animals. Together the frames form geometrical shapes. Joanna has a sharp eye for interior decoration and their home would fit perfectly into any catalogue.
The windows facing the garden run from one side of the room to the other, from floor to ceiling. Along the windows, Henrik has lowered the floor and planted palm trees together with smaller plants. Joanna leans her head flirtatiously against Henrik as she smiles with her eyes to make him massage her tired feet. Henrik smiles back. He takes off her white socks and puts his warm hands on her cold foot as he slowly begins to massage one foot at a time while they watch the opening scene of the movie she suggested the night before. It’s an action movie starring Jason Statham, their favourite cool-guy character in any movie.
Monday morning again. Henrik wakes up as usual at 05:15. The sun’s warm rays slowly find its way in through the slots between the blinds travelling up against the wall. The air in the bedroom is cool and fresh since the window was left ajar during the night. Outside, he can hear the birds chirping their morning salute together in a sweet summer symphony.
Beside him, he can hear Joanna’s calm, relaxed breathing; it looks like she is dreaming about something nice.
“Perhaps you dream about waves hitting the beach, while we are flying in the sky together, who knows?” he softly whispers to himself.
Her feminine lips form a weak smile. The slender body that barely can be seen under the thin summer blanket and her ever-so-familiar scent makes him want to stay in bed beside her, to keep dreaming through the morning in pace with her calm heartbeat, thinking, “Only 10 more minutes.”
He reluctantly decides that he should prepare for the day, so he slowly gets out of the bed, gently closing the door when he is out of the bedroom to allow Joanna to sleep in peace.
Henrik is back to work after a long weekend. He opens the door to his office, which is decorated in beautiful natural colours and filled with big green plants. Among them is a tall old fig whose top is bent downwards, just like it once had been outdoors covered with heavy snow. It is a beautiful plant that always gives him peace when needed. Built into a wall beside the fig is a relatively large aquarium where colourful Cichlids from Africa swim.
He sits on his leather chair. He shakes off the need for a refreshing cup of coffee buzzing in his brain, as he usually wants to start the computer first, allowing it to wake up during the time he finds a cup of coffee. On his large, rectangular dark wooden table, two big screens are positioned at an inwards angle; a black, ergonomically-designed keyboard with a smooth rounded shape together with a mouse that is equipped with programmable buttons complement the keyboard.
Henrik never leaves his desk untidy; he always makes sure that everything is in order before he ends his day at the office. So, he was a little confused when he saw a dark cube about the size of an orange along with a note with the text “From Viterin” resting behind the right screen. He picks up the cube, inspects it, rotates it, feeling the perfectly shaped sides against his fingers.
Henrik slowly realizes that the cube is getting warm and a slight vibration spreads throughout his fingers. The smooth sides of the cube now pulsate in a pale blue tone and in the middle of the cube, an image begins to take shape.
He is fascinated by its beauty, by its warmth. A few seconds later he can see the contours of the image taking a clearer form.
“It looks a bit like a galaxy .. maybe .. what can it be?”
A few minutes later the image is now clear. Henrik can see the incredibly detailed image of a galaxy, he stares with wide-opened eyes on the galaxy, feeling a little tingling sensation as he is swallowed up by the picture. Then suddenly everything is black. Life is perceived as a feeling of endless space without boundaries, in addition to an unpleasant feeling of weighing a lot while simultaneously weighing nothing at all, a sense of falling combined with complete stillness at the same time, he can see a dim light in his field of view.
Terrified, with a silent voice he whispers, “Am I dead?”
It is black everywhere except for the galaxy that is in the middle of his view. Henrik is floating in space, he can see all the individual stars shine clearly in the smallest detail. He can feel that there is an incredibly powerful force in the middle of the galaxy, a presence that fills up all existence, it makes him feel small, tiny even. He calms himself down by focusing on a breathing technique he once learned while travelling, he realizes that he must be inside the picture now, almost in the same way as when he puts his VR headset on, but with perfect picture quality.
“What is this?” Immediately after he thought it, a box appears to the right in his field of view, with the text.
Spiral galaxy in the Andromeda constellation, also called the Andromeda Galaxy.
2.9 million light-years or .8 Megaparsec from your current position, end of information, shutting down.”
A slight swirling occurs before the image fades out; the office slowly starts to be seen again.
This is the end of part 1, please buy the book when it is published to continue the journey.